software developer salary
The video game industry offers a wide range of experiences, limited only by the imagination of game software developers. Source: Marco Bertorello / AFP

In 2019, the software developer salary was US$107,510 — this is the median figure. The top 25% made even more — a solid US$136,320 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% was US$82,430.

When graduates in the US land jobs in the industry as game software developers, a paycheck worth between US$44,000 (entry-level) to US$120,000 (senior-level) per year awaits them. 

The intermediate software developer salary in Canada saw the highest percentage change in year over year compensation, according to HR Tech Group’s 2021 Tech Salary Survey. A fresh new hire commands a higher software developer salary than their incumbents too.

The national average salary for a computer game developer in Europe is 45,100 euros per year. In the Asian region, graduates can expect to earn an average of 40,800 Singaporean dollars in Singapore, 258,335 Chinese yuan in China and 500,000 rupees in India. 

An industry on the up

Game software developers have been providing entertainment for both children and adults for decades. They’ve come a long way since the early days of computer games and the original Nintendo and Atari consoles. New technologies like 5G, cloud and virtual reality will usher in a new phase of innovation, while new business models like support for in-game micropayments are already changing the economics of gaming.

Analysts predict that the gaming business will earn more than US$260 billion in revenue by 2025, up from $US155 billion in 2020. It’s understandable that businesses want a piece of the pie. 

The industry has shown no signs of stopping. Outlandish adventures, sports simulations, historical recreations — the video game industry offers a wide range of experiences, limited only by the imagination of game software developers. According to a study, certain video games can improve communication, adaptability and resourcefulness among university students, suggesting that video games might have a role to play in higher education. 

game software developers

Software developer salary is on the up. Source: Jung Yeon-je/AFP

The first step to commanding a high software developer salary

Students or employees who want to upskill or reskill in this area can enrol for degrees in software development. Through these courses, students will explore new technologies including 3D graphics; animation, game mechanics; user interface designing for games; gaming software development; the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and interactive design. 

Programmes include the use of artificial intelligence in real-time strategy, race and first-person games as well as educational games. You’ll also learn the computer science that underpins programming, such as requirements analysis and design and network communications.

This course offers you specialist skills for a career in this dynamic field. You’ll graduate with a portfolio that showcases your work, ready to impress potential employers.

Students studying in the US can apply to receive up to 12 months of part-time Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorisation before completing their academic studies and/or after completing their academic studies.  Those who are pursuing degrees within certain fields in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), may be eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.